Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
About 30 years ago, Irving Police and Fire Blue Christmas provided toys and food to some 25 families. This year, the event will help more than 400 families, and although this year’s donations aredown compared to 2011, organizers say the annual drive is still an important event.
“We just want to be sure these families are getting something,” Becky Fann, board member for Blue Christmas, said.
Every year, Blue Christmas takes donated food and toys for Irving children. The event also has two fundraisers during the year: a Chili Cookoff and a pancake breakfast. Donated toys and meals are then delivered to families that are chosen by school officials.
Two days before the delivery, volunteers worked at an Irving fire station to organize donations and pack toys into separate bags for each family. Wal-Mart also donated an assortment of bikes that organizers assembled. In all, 130 bikes were assembled for delivery.
This year’s delivery was on Dec. 22.
“It will be Grand Central Station in here,” Fann said two days before the delivery. “We’ll have people from the community here and we’ll be delivering all day.”
Fann said she remembers when the first year when only 25 families were helped. The next year about 30 families received meals and toys.
“From there it just kept going,” she said. “It went and grew and grew. It has literally blown up to the point we’re at now.”
Of the 306 families being served this year, about 900 children received toys for Christmas.
“We want to take care of our families,” Fann said.
The Blue Christmas board of directors includes Fann, Roger Hogle, Gary Brockett, Lisa Wilson, Greg Spivey and Nick Franco.